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South Med J. 1976 May;69(5):642-53.

Minimal brain dysfunction/specific learning disability: a clinical approach for the primary physician.


Minimal brain dysfunction is a neurodevelopmental disorder which can be found in nearly 20% of school children. It is characterized by evidences of immaturity involving control of activity, emotions, and behavior, and by specific learning disabilities involving the communicating skills needed in reading, writing, and mathematics. The prime deficits in the classroom are an inability to maintain attention and concentration and an inability to skillfully blend the auditory and visual functions essential in language performance. Medical evaluation will reveal many of the "soft signs" of neurologic involvement, and educational appraisal will indicate a wide scatter in testing scores with a marked discrepancy between evaluated potential and actual classroom achievement. Remedial efforts directed at early detection, relief from pressure and unjust punishment or ridicule from parents and teachers, and adjustment of the educational environment with consideration of the child's individual talents, combined with the judicious use of medications to prolong attention span and improve neurodevelopmental maturity, hold promise of improving the lot of most involved children. There are valid indications that expansion of such programs can do much to prevent these youngsters from developing severe personality maladjustment and delinquent behavior, as well as emotional illness in later life.

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